I have received some correspondence from constituents about grammar and faith schools.
I should point out that since education is a devolved matter, these proposals apply to England only and will not apply to schools in Wales, for which the Welsh Assembly Government are responsible.
The proposals aim to address shortfalls within the education system in England including the lack of places for pupils and the large proportion of pupils in England who are attending schools rated either ‘requiring improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.
There are currently 163 grammar schools in England, the majority of which demonstrate excellent education for pupils of all backgrounds and incomes. According to recent statistics, 80% of selective schools are rated ‘outstanding’, where as only 20% of non-selective achieve the same rating.
Current legislation prohibits non-selective schools from becoming selective. Given the evidence of their effectiveness, it seems sensible to allow more to open in order to offer high standards of education to all children across England.
Faith schools currently make up one-third of schools in England, 67% of which are Church of England and 29% are Catholic. Evidence indicates that they are consistently higher performing than their non-faith school counterparts.
There was a 50% cap placed on the number of children who are admitted to faith schools on the basis of their faith in order to promote tolerance. However, evidence now suggest that this does not foster tolerance and inclusivity. The current proposals aim to relax these rules, remove the 50% cap, and replace it with a stronger set of safeguards to promote inclusivity. These would build on safeguards already in place and would include: enhancing understanding of other faiths and those with no faith, promoting community cohesion, actively promoting British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect. There are also proposals such as twinning schools with different faith schools.
There is currently a consultation on these proposals, which is open until 12 December 2016. You may wish to make a submission. To do so please visit: www.education.gov.uk/consultations.
At the May 2015 General Election, David was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Clwyd West, with an increased majority of 6,730.